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Academy Juvenile Award

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First awarded
February 27, 1935

27 February 1935

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Academy Honorary Award presented for "Outstanding Juvenile Performance"

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The Academy Juvenile Award, also known as the Juvenile Oscar, was a Special Honorary Academy Award bestowed at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to specifically recognize juvenile performers under the age of eighteen for their "outstanding contributions to screen entertainment".


The trophy itself was a miniature Oscar statuette which stood approximately 7 inches tall. The honor was first awarded by the Academy in 1935 to 6-year-old Shirley Temple for her work in 1934. The Award continued to be presented intermittently over the next 25 years until 1961, when 12-year-old Hayley Mills became the last recipient to be awarded the child-size statuette for her role in Pollyanna.


The Academy Awards, first presented on May 16, 1929, did not originally present a Special Award for Juvenile actors. The very first child actor to be nominated for an Oscar was 9-year-old Jackie Cooper who was nominated as Best Actor in 1931 for his work in the film Skippy, but lost that year to Lionel Barrymore. Recognizing that children could be placed at an unfair disadvantage with Academy voters when nominated alongside their adult counterparts in the competitive Best Actor /Actress categories, and with no categories for Best Supporting Actor /Actress having yet been established, the Academy saw the need to establish an Honorary "Special Award" specifically created to recognize juveniles under the age of eighteen for their work in film.

On February 27, 1935, the 7th Annual Academy Awards honoring achievements in film for the year 1934, became the first Oscar ceremony to award the Special Juvenile Award. Playfully dubbed the "Oscarette" by Bob Hope in 1945, the statuette itself was a miniaturized Oscar, depicting an Art Deco image of a knight holding a crusader's sword and standing on a reel of film. Standing approximately ½ the size of its full-sized counterpart, this rare child-sized trophy remained the prototype for the statuette throughout the history of the Award with only relatively small modifications to its base over time.

After first being presented in 1935, the Special Juvenile Award continued to be presented intermittently to a total of 12 young actors over the next 25 years, however, several juvenile actors were instead nominated in the competitive Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories during this time; most notably, 14-year-old Bonita Granville as Best Supporting Actress of 1936 for These Three, 11-year-old Brandon deWilde as Best Supporting Actor of 1953 for Shane, 17-year-old Sal Mineo as Best Supporting Actor of 1955 for Rebel Without a Cause, and 11-year-old Patty McCormack as Best Supporting Actress of 1956 for The Bad Seed, all of whom lost to their adult counterparts in their respective categories.

Presented on April 17, 1961, the 33rd Annual Academy Awards honoring achievements in film for the year 1960 would be the last Oscar ceremony to present the Honorary Juvenile Award.


The 7th Annual Academy Awards recognized Shirley Temple with the Academy's first Juvenile Award to honor "her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934." Beginning her film career at the age of three, in 1934 Temple had attained child stardom in such films as Stand Up and Cheer!, Little Miss Marker, Baby Take a Bow and Bright Eyes. Just six years old on the night she accepted her Honorary statuette, Temple became the youngest recipient ever to be honored by the Academy, a distinction she still holds to this day.

The 11th Annual Academy Awards recognized both Deanna Durbin and Mickey Rooney with the Juvenile Award honoring "their significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth". By 1938, 16-year-old Durbin was a rising star as the singing ingenue in such films as Mad About Music and That Certain Age, and Rooney had risen to fame in the Andy Hardy comedies and received critical acclaim for his dramatic turn in Boys Town. Eighteen years old on the night he accepted the accolade, Rooney would be the eldest recipient ever to be honored with the Academy's Juvenile Award.

The 12th Annual Academy Awards recognized Judy Garland with the Juvenile Award honoring "her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year." In 1939, 16-year-old Garland had become one of Hollywood's brightest young starlets, appearing that year in the MGM musicals Babes in Arms and The Wizard of Oz. Although she would be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress of 1954, and again as Best Supporting Actress of 1961, the Juvenile Award would be the only honor Garland would receive from the Academy.


The 17th Annual Academy Awards recognized Margaret O'Brien with the Juvenile Award honoring her as "outstanding child actress of 1944". That year, 7-year-old O'Brien had become one of the most popular child actresses of her day, starring in the films The Canterville Ghost, Music for Millions, and Meet Me In St. Louis alongside former Juvenile Award Honoree Judy Garland. Hosting the Annual ceremony that year was Bob Hope who endearingly dubbed the Juvenile Award the "Oscarette" upon presenting O'Brien with her miniature Oscar.

The 18th Annual Academy Awards recognized Peggy Ann Garner with the Juvenile Award honoring her as "outstanding child actress of 1945". Beginning her prolific film career at the age of six, in 1945, 13-year-old Garner appeared in Nob Hill and Junior Miss, as well as receiving critical acclaim for her dramatic role as Francie Nolan, a girl living in the Brooklyn slums with her devoted mother and alcoholic father in the 20th Century Fox drama, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

The 19th Annual Academy Awards recognized Claude Jarman, Jr. with the Juvenile Award honoring him as "outstanding child actor of 1946". 13 years old in 1946, Jarman was honored with the Juvenile Oscar for his screen debut as Jody in Warner Brothers' family drama, The Yearling. Although the Academy didn't officially begin to present the Juvenile Award for a child's work in a specific film until two years later, The Yearling was Jarman's first and only film released in 1946.

The 21st Annual Academy Awards recognized Ivan Jandl with the Juvenile Award honoring him for "the outstanding juvenile performance of 1948, as 'Karel Malik' in "The Search". Born in Czechoslovakia, and beginning his relatively brief film career in 1948 at the age of eleven, Jandl was the first foreign child actor to be honored with the Juvenile Oscar. Unable to travel to the United States to attend the ceremony, Jandl's statuette was instead presented to him in his native Prague.

The 22nd Annual Academy Awards recognized Bobby Driscoll with the Juvenile Award honoring him as "the outstanding juvenile actor of 1949". That year, 12-year-old Driscoll had starred in the Disney tear-jerker So Dear to My Heart, as well as garnering critical acclaim for his dramatic performance in the RKO melodrama The Window. Demonstrating the prestige the Honorary Juvenile Award held for Hollywood child stars of the time, on the night of the ceremony, Driscoll nervously accepted his miniature statuette saying, "I don't ever think I've been so thrilled in my life".


The 27th Annual Academy Awards recognized both Jon Whiteley and Vincent Winter with the Juvenile Award honoring their "outstanding juvenile performance(s) in The Little Kidnappers". Perhaps best known to audiences in their native Scotland, in 1953, Whiteley, age 8, and Winter, age 6, played Harry and Davy respectively, two boys living with their grandfather in Nova Scotia who, forbidden by their grandfather to have a dog, "kidnap" an unattended baby and care for the child as their own in the British produced family drama.

The 33rd Annual Academy Awards recognized 13-year-old Hayley Mills with what would be the last Juvenile Award, honoring her for Disney's Pollyanna as "the most outstanding juvenile performance during 1960".

List of honorees

The following list of honorees lists the ages of recipients on the night of the ceremony and not the age they were when they appeared in the project(s) for which they were being honored. In some cases, the ceremony was held more than a year after a film's original release, and as much as two years after principal photography was completed.

Post-juvenile era

In 1962, 16 year-old Patty Duke starred in The Miracle Worker and in 1963, was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film, becoming the youngest actress at the time to ever win an Academy Award of merit and for the first time, proving that a juvenile could win in a competitive category. From this point onward, child actors were recognized in the same categories as their adult counterparts, or not at all.

As of 2015, a total of only three minors (including Duke) have won Oscars, all in the Best Supporting Actress category. The other two are Anna Paquin, who was 11, for The Piano (1993), and Tatum O'Neal, who was 10, for Paper Moon (1973), and as of 2016 is still the record holder as the youngest person to ever win a competitive Academy Award.

Lost and found

While only 12 stars have been awarded the rare miniature statuette, a total of 14 Juvenile Oscars are actually known to exist.

Lost Garland Award

Judy Garland had reportedly lost her award over the years, and in June 1958 contacted the Academy to obtain a replacement at her own expense. The Academy obliged, but asked Garland to sign its well-known right of first refusal agreement covering the duplicate Oscar as well as her original, should it ever turn up. The agreement, put into implementation by the Academy in 1950, states that Oscar recipients or their heirs who want to sell their statuettes must first offer the Academy the opportunity to buy the Oscar back for the sum of $10. (An amount which was subsequently dropped to $1 in the 1980s.)

After her death in 1969, many of Garland's personal effects came into the possession of her former husband, Sidney Luft who attempted to sell a miniature Oscar statuette at a Christie's auction in 1993. Upon learning of the impending auction, the Academy quickly filed a legal injunction to halt the sale of the Award and, after some research, determined that the statuette in question was Garland's 1958 replacement Oscar, using photographs that showed the original 1940 statuette's unique base differed from the one being put up for auction. The courts ruled in the Academy's favor in 1995 and ordered Luft to return the 1958 statuette to the Academy; prompting Luft to instead turn the award over to daughter Lorna Luft who had expressed a desire to keep it in the family.

In 2000, a second statuette was put up for auction, which the Academy determined this time to be Garland's long-lost "original" 1940 Oscar. After once again tracing the auction back to Sidney Luft, the Academy again took legal action to halt the sale claiming the 1940 statuette fell under the terms of the agreement Garland had signed in 1958. The Academy again won its lawsuit in 2002 and Luft was ordered to turn the 1940 statuette over to the Academy. In February 2010, Garland's original 1940 Juvenile Oscar was put on display to the public at an exhibit held by the Academy in New York City called "Meet The Oscars". As of 2011, its 1958 replacement is believed to still be in the possession of Garland's youngest daughter, Lorna Luft.

Lost O'Brien Award

Throughout her childhood, Margaret O'Brien's awards were displayed in a special room. One day in 1954, the family's maid asked to take O'Brien's Juvenile Oscar and two other awards home with her to polish, as she had done in the past. After three days, the maid failed to return to work, prompting O'Brien's mother to discharge her, requesting that the awards be returned. Shortly thereafter, O'Brien's mother, who had been sick with a heart condition, suffered a relapse and died. In mourning, 17 year-old O'Brien forgot about the maid and the Oscar until several months later when she tried to contact her, only to find that the maid had moved and had left no forwarding address.

Several years later, upon learning that the original had been stolen, the Academy promptly supplied O'Brien with a replacement Oscar, but O'Brien still held onto hope that she might one day recover her original Award. In the years that followed, O'Brien attended memorabilia shows and searched antique shops, hoping she might find the original statuette, until one day in 1995 when Bruce Davis, then executive director of the Academy, was alerted that a miniature statuette bearing O'Brien's name had surfaced in a catalogue for an upcoming memorabilia auction. Davis contacted a mutual friend of his and O'Brien's, who in turn phoned O'Brien to tell her the long-lost Oscar had been found.

Memorabilia collectors Steve Neimand and Mark Nash were attending a flea market in 1995 when Neimand spotted a small Oscar with Margaret O'Brien's name inscribed upon it. The two men decided to split the $500 asking price hoping to resell it at a profit and lent it to a photographer to shoot for an upcoming auction catalogue. This led to Bruce Davis' discovery that the statuette had resurfaced and, upon learning of the award's history, Nash and Neimand agreed to return the Oscar to O'Brien. On February 7, 1995, almost fifty years after she'd first received it, the Academy held a special ceremony in Beverly Hills to return the stolen award to O’Brien. Upon being reunited with her Juvenile Oscar, Margaret O'Brien told the attending journalists:


Academy Juvenile Award Wikipedia

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